C4. Create Functional and Innovative Designs

Posted: October 7, 2010 in CORE

Initial knowledge – 2

Current working knowledge – 3

During my time at Sheffield Hallam we worked in conjunction with different companies who wanted us to create innovative designs for their products.  Of course in this line of work there were strict guidelines as to branding and marketing.  I enjoyed the course but sometimes felt a little restricted when having to adhere to specific guidelines.  I had somewhat a reputation for going slightly off-key with some of my designs.  Basically I wanted to produce exiting new ideas but was accused sometimes of trying to’ re-invent the wheel’.

The thing I love about design however is the nature of the imagination you can apply to a product.  I have learnt however that what looks good on paper may not actually be practical in real business, the designs must be functional as well as aesthetically pleasing.  For instance in an institution such as packaging design there are many things to consider such as a products size, how it will stack, how economical it will be to produce e.t.c.  So for example when designing a deodorant bottle or toothpaste tube there is always going to be a certain shape and size it is expected to be roughly and maybe the innovation comes through graphic media or the use of smart or modern materials to help it stand out from the competition.  Designing something outlandish and large just wouldn’t be functional as you have to consider shelf size and transportation of the products to name just a few things.

When undertaking Bhavs project it was an excuse basically to do what I pleased although I think she may have discouraged me from certain things!  I chose to design a plate rack, not to interesting on the basis but I tend to start with a whole range of ideas some more obscure than others and try to weed out the ones that have perhaps gone a little too far in their innovation, and if there is one thing I have taken away from Sheffield is that the design must be practical too.  These designs were my first set of ideas I tend to produce a range of as many possibilities as I can before concentrating on developing one specific idea.  I decided that I wanted the design to be modern and fit within a contemporary kitchen.

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Once I have produced a range of ideas I focus on one idea, maybe including different aspects of other designs to try to develop towards what my final product is going to look like :

I liked some of the more rounded designs in my initial drawings but there were limits on the size of the sheet alumium I could spin, when I referred back to my design brief and looked at existing contemporary kitchens, one of the features within the kitchens were clean, crisp lines and a minimal style,  I took that on board and began to develop more linear designs.  They are actually an adaptation of one of the designs in the centre of the original set of initial ideas.

Continuing to adapt the linear form, sticking to the brief but creating an unusual yet functional plate rack that differs from the ones on the current market.

After developement I usually arrive at a final idea and begin to manufacture it.  It is worth noting at this point that I need to be aware of not only producing good designs but also good functional working products as well.  I wasn’t particularly happy with my final products in ed216 and 7 although I was happy with the design work I had done and feel it was a step in the right direction for ED320.  My initial designs for my ambience light can be seen in C5.

In reflection I must ensure in future that my designs and ideas are original and fresh but I must analyse them thoroughly and accurately and make sure that the final product is viable and functional as well as innovative.  By introducing product analysis and quality control and assurance into my projects at the earliest possible opportunity, I can use any findings to improve upon the functionality of any initial ideas.

I am certainly happier with my final space saving unit.  I tried to keep the ideas original, but with more in-depth research in creating a functional product and
with correct dimensioning I can honestly say that I have developed over the year to not only create innovative ideas and designs but manufacture them into working functional items also.


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